Here is the only piece I could find on the potential impact of the mid-term US elections on mining. I enjoyed it, so I repeat it in the hope you may too.

U.S. Mid-Terms: House Democrats may hurt mining but some relief may come from Senate
By: Dorothy Kosich

Posted: '09-NOV-06 08:00' GMT © Mineweb 1997-2006

RENO, NV (Mineweb.com) --With Democrats firmly in control of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, miners can expect House committee leadership changes which, in several cases, will make the going tougher for natural resource companies.


The good news for mining is that Nevada’s Senator Harry Reid, the son of a gold miner, will probably become Senate Majority Leader in January with enough power to bury whatever legislation mining opponents throw at the industry.

Perhaps the most dramatic policy shift will occur in the House Resources Committee as Chairman Richard Pombo, R-California, lost his congressional race. The ranking Democrat on the Resources Committee is hardrock mining’s old foe Nick J. Rahall, D-West Virginia. Rahall has long battled the mining industry to revise the 1872 Mining Law to include a royalty on hardrock mining on public lands.

Miners can also expect Pombo’s battle to reform the Endangered Species Act to die, along with his efforts to allow miners to patent lands surrounding mining operations. Energy policy changes are also anticipated as Pombo’s opponent, wind energy expert, Jerry McNerney will represent California’s 11th Congressional District. The Democratic House is expected to tax oil companies’ profits. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, who is expected to become Speaker of the House, has already announced she will work to repeal oil industry subsidies.

Another startling change for mining will be the leadership of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, currently chaired by Republican Howard “Buck” McKeon. Another long-time mining foe Rep. George Miller, D-California, is the ranking Democrat on the Committee and will most likely become its chairman. Miller had battled the mining industry over mine safety and environmental issues as well as reform of the 1872 Mining Law.

Once the Democrats assume control of the House, Texas Republican Joe Barton will no longer chair the Committee on Energy and Commerce. He will probably be replaced by ranking Democrat John Dingell of Michigan, who has worked fairly well with the mining industry over the years.

Another loss to the mining industry is the defeat of Rep. J.D. Hayworth, R-Arizona. Hayworth served on Ways and Means and the Natural Resources Committees.

SENATE CHANGES
Democrat Jim Webb’s official victory over Virginia Sen. George Allen has assured Democrats of 51 seats when the Senate convenes in January. Both Senate independents vote consistently with the Democrats. Current Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, though, is a strong supporter of U.S. mining, particularly Nevada’s gold mining industry. As Senate Majority Leader, Reid will become even more powerful in halting legislation which could be damaging to mining. Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell is expected to be elected Minority Leader.


The chairmanship of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will pass from one New Mexico Senator Pete Domenici to his fellow New Mexico Senator Democrat Jeff Bingman, also a strong supporter of natural resource development. While Montana Senator Conrad Burns was defeated largely due to the Abramnoff corruption scandal, his fellow Senator Max Baucus is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee. While not as heavily pro-mining as Republican Burns, Baucus does provide support to issues impacting the Montana mining industry. Baucus is now in line to become Finance Committee Chairman.

Mining may suffer with the change in the leadership of the U.S. Senator Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions as Wyoming Republican Senator Michael Enzi will probably be replaced as chairman by renowned liberal Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts. The chairmanship of the Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety will probably pass from Republican Johnny Isakson of Georgia to ranking Democrat Patty Murray of Washington State, who has worked well with the Northwest Mining Association. This particular subcommittee also oversees mining health and safety issues.

MARKET REACTION
Dow Jones industrials reached record highs Wednesday as investors gambled that the huge Democratic victory would result in log jam and keep lawmakers out of the way of business interests.

The overall mood on Wall Street was positive, according to analysts. Mining insiders also suggested that Congress may be so busy with Iraq, the 2008 Presidential Election, and oil companies that mining policy issues may simply be overlooked. In fact, some cynics suggested that the mining industry doesn’t represent much of a political constituency to even warrant much scrutiny over the next two years.